2nd September, 2020

Our favourite secondhand bookshops to visit by train

The Topsham Bookshop

Earlier this summer we launched our Book Trail of more than 60 bookshops to explore in Devon and Cornwall. All are either in rail-served towns and cities or easily reached by bus from stations.

For me, there’s little nicer than looking along the shelves in a well stocked secondhand book shop – and there are several on the trail. Here are some of my favourites:

The Topsham Bookshop, Topsham


The Topsham Bookshop, Topsham

Located in the town centre, around ten minutes’ walk from the station, this is a Tardis of a bookshop, its small shopfront not preparing you for the three floors of books inside. I once found a 1935 Plymouth tram map there!

The Old Hall Bookshop, Looe


The Old Hall Bookshop, Looe

This lovely large bookshop is in an old chapel and specialises in secondhand books. It’s on Shutta Road, just off the main Fore Street in East Looe before you get to the Guildhall. It’s no more than ten minutes’ walk from the station. Online sales available.

Tarka Books, Barnstaple


Tarka Books, Barnstaple

Well located just off Boutport St in the town centre, it has a wide range of books. It’s a short bus ride or about twenty minutes walk from the station. They also offer online sales.

Bookmarks, Falmouth


Bookmarks, Falmouth

This corner shop at the beginning of the main shopping area is stacked full of secondhand books. As an indication of just how random secondhand bookshops can be, I once found there an 1880s study of the church in the Surrey village I grew up in. The shop is in Arwenack Street, just over five minutes’ walk from Falmouth Town station.

Enjoy exploring the whole trail and thanks for supporting our local bookshops.

Richard Burningham
Manager, Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership
(and owner of at least 500 books!)

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PS Please remember to travel safely this summer – face coverings must be worn on public transport and in indoor spaces at stations unless you are exempt.

If you can, please buy your ticket online on the GWR app or website. Please also remember to wash your hands and use social distancing. Read more on GWR’s Coronavirus advice page.